A homily in a hundred words (Mark 2:1-12)

Sunday the heavens are torn open

Today the roof is torn open

         Such are signs of the grace of God pouring into the world

Good friends make an invitation of sorts

Leading you and taking you where you would not necessarily  go

Such are signs of the grace of God pouring into your life

The ingenuity of mankind

The presence of Christ

Sins forgiven

                  Healing at the deepest level

                           The physical, spiritual, emotional,

Such are the avenues of the grace of God pouring into life

Heavenly portends

Friends coming your way

The presence of Christ

A life forever changed

Lamb of God: calling disciples

Ecce Agnus Dei - Francis Hoyland

Ecce Agnus Dei – Francis Hoyland

Andrew. Three times Andrew is doing something in John – ‘and each time he is bringing someone to Jesus. First, his brother, Simon (v.40). Then, a boy with five barley loaves and two fish (6:8); and finally, “some Greeks” (12:20-22), which signals the hour for the Son of Man to be glorified. Andrew is never mentioned just by himself. Twice he is called Simon Peter’s brother (1:40; 6:8). We are told that Philip came from the city of Andrew and Simon (1:44). Andrew and Philip go and tell Jesus about the Greeks (12:22). It may be that being named as the first follower of Jesus (in the Fourth Gospel) was the first time that he had ever been first in anything. It seems likely to me that he was always living under the shadow of his more flamboyant brother. It also seems to me that our parishes are full of more behind-the-scenes “Andrews” than flamboyant “Peters” who seem to get all the credit. (“Peter” occurs in 32 verses in John – ‘8 times as many as Andrew.) One doesn’t have to be a “Peter” to be an effective follower and witness to Jesus (Stoffregen) Continue reading

Lamb of God: come and see

Ecce Agnus Dei - Francis Hoyland

Ecce Agnus Dei – Francis Hoyland

In vv.19-34 we have seen John the Baptist bearing his witness (see commentary here). Now we find him sending some of his followers after the Lord. There are accounts of a “call” in the Synoptics (e.g., Mark 1:16–20), but they differ greatly from this. The Fourth Gospel tells of a call to be disciples; the Synoptics of a call to be apostles. John’s theme is not the calling of the apostles into office; it is their call to relationship with Christ. Strictly speaking, there is no “call” in this Gospel (except in the case of Philip, v. 43). Jesus does not call the disciples and John the Baptist does not send his disciples to Jesus; Jesus and his role as the Lamb of God is pointed out – or rather John’s witness. The English leaves a bit of room as to how to understand the disciples’ motivation. Are they curious, intrigued or do they perhaps recognize the Messiah and spontaneously follow. Continue reading

Lamb of God: context

Ecce Agnus Dei - Francis Hoyland

Ecce Agnus Dei – Francis Hoyland

This coming Sunday is the 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – the cycle of readings in which The Gospel according to Mark is the principal source of our Sunday gospels. That being said, our reading is from the Gospel According to John. In fact, regardless of which cycle of readings (A,B, or C), the “Second Sunday of Ordinary Time the Gospel continues to center on the manifestation of the Lord” with a gospel from John (General Introduction to the Lectionary, 105). It is done as a means of transitioning from the theme of “manifestation” highlighted in Epiphany to ordinary time readings – I suspect – because there are some years when the Baptism of the Lord is celebrated on the Monday following the Sunday celebration of Epiphany (when Epiphany Sundays falls on Jan 7th or 8th). The reading for the 2nd Sunday ensures the theme is continued in the simple verse: “We have Found the Messiah.” Continue reading

Home and Belonging

FB-PostWe post things on Facebook once or twice a week – maybe a 30 or so folks visit each post, some percentage of them “like” the post, and perhaps the post add a few “friends.” This Thursday we posted a simple item on the parish Facebook page letting people know there will be a tour of our beautiful church today at 1:15 pm. But this post about the tour of the church has gone somewhat viral. By early Saturday evening more than 8,300 people have viewed the post, several hundred “liked” it, and a whole bunch of people became “friends!” Holy cow! Holy guacamole! People like us! We have friends! This affirms everything we have tried to do here at the parish! …. ahhh… well….. let’s not get too breathless about it all. I don’t think all 8,300 hundred people are coming for the tour. Still, it’s good to know people find the church building beautiful. But I wish they would and they could all have the feeling of the one person who wrote: “Absolutely love this community. Like coming home every time I step through those doors.” That is what I would like to have people experience when come through those doors – people who meet them, welcome them, to fulfill what is perhaps the deepest of human desires: belonging – knowing that you are home. Continue reading

Musings about Belonging

belonging-groups-cOver the past year I have been meeting with a group of parishioners about the parish. It has been a wide-ranging discussion about the future, our vision, and such things. One of the topics that came up repeatedly was about “belonging.” Our discussion made us ask, “Have we created a home in this parish where people feel welcomed – but more than that – where they belong?” Continue reading

God and Epiphany

in my fathers houseSeveral years ago I was researching for my master’s thesis on early Franciscan Missions. One of the really interesting aspects of the early Franciscan missions was the one to China. The friars arrived in China in 1292 and John of Montecorvino was the first bishop of Beijing. But all that is besides the point. In the course of my research I ran across The Travels of Marco Polo in which he describes his travels in the far east. I was scanning the text to see if he had any mention of contact with the friars or the Christian monasteries that dotted the silk road in those days. Continue reading

Night Flowers

Kibera-nightThe nights are painted with the strokes of a platinum moon, the pale warmth of lanterns in  the seller’s stalls, and the crimson embers of the charcoal fires

In the faint light are the late night vendors trying to sell the last of their wares; others waiting for the winding down of the day and the return of their husbands or wives or children; still others are lingering for just a moment more in the fading day. Continue reading

Resolutions for the New Year?

FrancisI thought it a good idea to say something about resolutions – it is the New Year and it is a bit of a tradition.  Short of ideas? Here are some suggestions from Pope Francis.

  • “Take care of your spiritual life, your relationship with God, because this is the backbone of everything we do and everything we are.”
  • “Take care of your family life, giving your children and loved ones not just money, but most of all your time, attention and love.”
  • “Take care of your relationships with others, transforming your faith into life and your words into good works, especially on behalf of the needy.”
  • “Be careful how you speak, purify your tongue of offensive words, vulgarity and worldly decadence.”
  • “Heal wounds of the heart with the oil of forgiveness, forgiving those who have hurt us and medicating the wounds we have caused others.”
  • “Look after your work, doing it with enthusiasm, humility, competence, passion and with a spirit that knows how to thank the Lord.”
  • “Be careful of envy, lust, hatred and negative feelings that devour our interior peace and transform us into destroyed and destructive people.”
  • “Watch out for anger that can lead to vengeance; for laziness that leads to existential euthanasia; for pointing the finger at others, which leads to pride; and for complaining continually, which leads to desperation.”
  • “Take care of brothers and sisters who are weaker … the elderly, the sick, the hungry, the homeless and strangers, because we will be judged on this.”

Continue reading


bridgesToday is a fusion of things we celebrate. Certainly first and foremost is the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God. This is also the World Day of Prayer for Peace. …And if that weren’t enough, it is the day we celebrate the start of a New Year – a time when we are ready to resolve so that all things are new, all things can be renewed. Continue reading